Election 2016: MN Supreme Court Primary

So it is August 2nd, and we have a primary on August 9th. Primaries used to be in September, and got pushed back because they wanted everyone to have more time to campaign. I’m not sure this was a good idea, because I’m just not used to having to pay attention to this stuff in August; it’s easy to just miss it accidentally because I’m not in election mode yet.

There is one statewide race, and it’s the sort of easy-to-miss incredibly important office that hopefully you’re reading my blog for information about: the State Supreme Court. There are three people running:

Natalie Hudson
Craig Foss
Michelle MacDonald

Natalie Hudson

Natalie was appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court by Mark Dayton in October of 2015. She was appointed to the Minnesota Court of Appeals by Ventura. She is endorsed by basically all the current and former MN Supreme Court justices, the Star Tribune, and 90% of the lawyers in the state, according to a Bar Association poll. She is smart, she is qualified, and she has the breadth and depth of experience you’d hope for in a judge.

Basically she’s a no-brainer. GO VOTE FOR HER.

Craig Foss

Craig doesn’t have a website but I did find a brief newspaper article about him. He is an unemployed lawyer and is running for justice because hey, it would be a job!

I’ll say that I think it’s unfortunate that he’s dealing with prejudice because he’s legally blind. Blindness is not a disqualification from being a lawyer. That said, “I’m unemployed and want a job” is a terrible reason to run for Supreme Court Justice. As someone who’s known a lot of math-oriented people, I’m frankly not convinced that “I bring the logic and analytical skills of a mathematician. The law would be much easier and more understandable if all lawyers were mathematicians” is a persuasive case, either.

Michelle MacDonald

I wrote about Michelle back in 2014 when she ran for the same job (different seat) and I’m just going to link you there, because there’s way too much to recap.

Looking her up two years ago, I discovered a jaw-dropping rabbit hole of bizarre behavior, including the drunk driving charge but also this incident where she got arrested in a courtroom that is too convoluted to summarize.

Her (former) client  Sandra Grazzini-Rucki has been back in the news lately because her missing kids turned back up and Sandra was charged with deprivation of parental rights for helping them hide from their father.

Anyway. MacDonald was endorsed by the Republicans two years ago after making a rousing speech that involved some literal Bible thumping; she tried for an endorsement again this year and they refused it. (The Republicans will currently endorse for judicial races; the DFL will not. Most of the respectable candidates, like Natalie Hudson, do not seek party endorsement at all.)

Despite the fact that Michelle MacDonald is the sort of batshit that makes Michele Bachmann look like a model of rational and responsible behavior, she got 47% of the vote against Lillehaug in 2014. Vote in these races, people. And go vote in the primary.

 

 

 

Election 2014: Associate Justice – Supreme Court 2

The Minnesota Supreme Court has seven justices and is the highest court in the state. The two seats that are up for election this time are both justices who were originally appointed by Mark Dayton; of the other sitting justices, four were appointed by Tim Pawlenty and one, Alan Page, was elected.

Here’s who’s running for this seat:

JOHN HANCOCK
WILHELMINA (MIMI) WRIGHT

Mimi Wright is the incumbent.

John Hancock

John has no website and doesn’t appear to be granting interviews as such, though apparently he will grudgingly answer e-mail. He is (or until recently was?) a Special Agent for the Department of Homeland Security, and lives in Nebraska (but I guess is relocating, or …I’m not sure.) The article I linked to above has the following hilarious line: “While Wright said her wealth of experience qualifies her for the position, Hancock, who hasn’t served in a judicial position, said no single career path makes one candidate more prepared than another.” Yeah, so, Mimi Wright served as a law clerk, worked aw a lawyer, worked in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Minnesota, and was appointed to the Minnesota Court of Appeals in 2002 by Jesse Ventura, where she worked for ten years before Dayton appointed her to the Supreme Court. Hancock started a private practice after law school, focusing on bankruptcy, real estate, and family law, then became an agent with DHS.

I’m going to go ahead and say she’s a lot more prepared for this job than he is.

Also, no web site, which is a pretty big “kind of a flake” flag anyway, given that he’s not running for dogcatcher but for the Minnesota State Supreme Court.

Wilhemina “Mimi” Wright

As noted above, Mimi was originally appointed to the Minnesota Court of Appeals by Jesse Ventura, so while she was appointed to the Minnesota Supreme Court by Governor Dayton, you would expect that she’s probably someone who would be popular with the libertarian-leaning Republicans as well, and her list of supporters bears that out. It includes both some establishment Democrats (Michael Ciresi, Sharon Sayles-Belton, Michael Freeman) and some moderate or at least old-school Republicans (Arne Carlson, Al Quie).

She is also clearly qualified for the position (see above about her career path), and I see no giant red flags in her list of supporters.

This one’s easy: Mimi Wright.